Tag: THAAD

Guam, Japan prepare for possible North Korea missile launch

SANTA RITA, Guam. An aerial view of U.S. Naval Base Guam. Naval Base Guam supports the U.S. Pacific Fleet. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

Hagatña, Guam (CNN) North Korean military figures are putting the final touches on a plan to fire four missiles into the waters around the US-territory of Guam, to be presented to leader Kim Jong Un within days.

In a statement last week, Gen. Kim Rak Gyom, commander of the Strategic Force of the Korean People’s Army, said the plan to fire “four Hwasong-12 intermediate-range strategic ballistic rockets … to signal a crucial warning to the US” would be ready by “mid-August.”

Recent days have seen a significant escalation of tensions in the region as preparations are put in place for a possible launch in Guam, Japan and South Korea.

A notice put out by Guam’s Joint Information Center Saturday warned residents how to prepare “for an imminent missile threat.”

“Do not look at the flash or fireball — it can blind you,” the note said. “Lie flat on the ground and cover your head. If the explosion is some distance away, it could take 30 seconds or more for the blast wave to hit.”

Guam’s Homeland Security Adviser George Charfauros said Friday it would take 14 minutes for a missile fired from North Korea to reach Guam.

Japan missile defense deployed

On Saturday, some of Japan’s land-based Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile interceptors began arriving at Japanese Self Defense Forces (SDF) bases in three of the four prefectures any North Korean missiles would likely fly over en route to Guam.

Pyongyang identified three of those areas — Shimane, Hiroshima and Kochi prefectures — in its statement last week.

A spokesman for SDF said the missiles were being deployed not to intercept missiles, but rather “just in case.” He did not elaborate.

Sim Tack, a senior analyst for private intelligence firm Stratfor, said the Japanese batteries are designed for protecting the area where they are deployed, “(they are) not meant to shoot missiles out of the sky as they pass over Japan at high altitude.”

“So unless those North Korean missiles were to fall short, the Patriots shouldn’t have a function to serve in this particular case,” he said.
Japanese Ballistic Missile Defense Scenario

The SDF spokesman said the country’s Aegis ballistic missile defense system was deployed in the waters between Japan and the Korean Peninsula, but would not give a specific location.

Aegis is able to track 100 missiles simultaneously and fire interceptors to take out an enemy’s ballistic projectiles.

In South Korea, where both the military and civilians are used to facing threats from North Korea, Defense Minister Song Young-moo warned the country’s armed forces “to maintain full readiness” to “immediately punish with powerful force” any action against the South.

“Recently, North Korea made its habitual absurd remarks that it will turn Seoul into a sea of fire and that it will strike near Guam,” Song said according to ministry official. “North Korea raising tension (on the Peninsula) is a serious challenge against the South Korean-US alliance and the international community.”

Meanwhile, US-South Korean joint military exercises are due to begin later this month. The annual exercises, called Ulchi-Freedom Guardian, are expected to run from August 21 to 31.

Calls for calm

Chinese President Xi Jinping and other world leaders have called for calm as both Pyongyang and Washington upped their saber-rattling rhetoric.

On Friday, US President Donald Trump doubled down on his statement that he would unleash “fire and fury like the world has never seen” if Pyongyang continued its threats, saying in a tweet that “military solutions” were “locked and loaded” for use against North Korea.

According to a statement from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Xi told Trump in a call between the two leaders Saturday all “relevant parties parties should exercise restraint and avoid words and actions that would escalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel described escalation as “the wrong answer,” while Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Trump’s statements were “very worrying.”

Last week, New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English criticized Trump’s “fire and fury” comments as “not helpful in an environment that’s very tense.”

French President Emmanuel Macron called for the international community to work with North Korea to “resume the path of dialogue without conditions,” following a call with Trump Saturday.

Washington has previously said it will consider talks with Pyongyang if it agrees to give up its nuclear weapons program, a pre-condition North Korean officials have described as a non-starter.

Guam waits for news

At a church in central Guam Sunday, parishioners sang “Lord, we pray for world peace” after discussing the potential North Korean threat.

“There’s a lot of disbelief going on, there’s a lot of anxiety,” Father Paul Gofigan told CNN after the mass.

Gofigan said there is not a lot of panic in Guam, and that people’s faith — the island has been overwhelmingly Catholic since the arrival of Spanish missionaries in the 17th century– has been on display in recent days.

“Faith is so deeply rooted into our culture,” he said.

The territory’s governor, Eddie Baza Calvo, said he spoke with Trump and the President’s chief of staff, John Kelly, on Saturday.

“Both assured me that the people of Guam are safe,” Calvo wrote on Facebook. “In the President’s words they are behind us ‘1,000 percent.’ As the head of the Government of Guam, I appreciate their reassurances that my family, my friends, everyone on this island, are all safe.”

As an unincorporated US territory, citizens of Guam cannot vote in general elections. The island is also home to a large US military presence, a fact that has led to tension with some local residents, particularly those of the indigenous Chamorro community.

“Nobody really deserves to be caught in the middle of these games,” said Victoria-Lola Leon Guerrero, an activist who campaigns for a lowered military presence.

“You’re playing with people’s lives. We just want peace, we just want to continue to enjoy our lives here.”

 

Alaska-based THAAD system intercepts target missile over Pacific

A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor is launched from the Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska in Kodiak, Alaska, during Flight Test.

A medium-range ballistic missile was intercepted over the Pacific Ocean early Sunday during a test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, the Missile Defense Agency said.

The target missile, air-launched by an Air Force C-17, was detected, tracked and intercepted by a THAAD battery at Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska in Kodiak, an MDA statement said. It didn’t specify exactly where the missile was stopped.

Soldiers from the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade out of Fort Bliss, Texas, conducted launcher, fire-control and radar operations using the same procedures they would use in a real-world scenario, the statement said. The team was not aware of when the target missile would be launched.

“In addition to successfully intercepting the target, the data collected will allow MDA to enhance the THAAD weapon system, our modeling and simulation capabilities, and our ability to stay ahead of the evolving threat,” Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves, MDA’s director, said in the statement.

The exercise comes not long after North Korea test-fired its second intercontinental ballistic missile this month. The ICBM launched late Friday splashed down into the Sea of Japan about 620 miles east of the launch site in the country’s far northwest, a Pentagon statement said.

The U.S. military, which detected and tracked the missile throughout its flight, determined it posed no threat to North America.

Source: Stars and Stripes.

South Korea to Deploy 4 More Anti-missile Units

A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor is launched from the Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska in Kodiak, Alaska, during Flight Test THAAD, July 11, 2017.

South Korea said Saturday it will proceed with the deployment of four additional units of the U.S. THAAD anti-missile defense system after North Korea’s latest launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

The deployment of the additional Terminal High Altitude Area Defenae (THAAD) units had been delayed after the initial two units, after South Korean President Moon Jae-in ordered an environmental assessment.

China has been notified of the move to speed up the deployment, the South’s presidential Blue House said.

China’s Foreign Ministry expressed serious concern Saturday about South Korea decision to proceed with the deployment of the additional units.

The deployment will not resolve South Korea’s security concerns and will only make things more complex, the ministry said, reiterating a Chinese call for the system to be withdrawn.

North Korea said earlier Saturday it had conducted another successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that proved its ability to strike all of America’s mainland.

Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), formerly Theater High Altitude Area Defense, is an American anti-ballistic missile defense system designed to shoot down short, medium, and intermediate range ballistic missiles in their terminal phase by intercepting with a hit-to-kill approach. THAAD was developed after the experience of Iraq’s Scud missile attacks during the Gulf War in 1991. The THAAD interceptor carries no warhead, but relies on its kinetic energy of impact to destroy the incoming missile. A kinetic energy hit minimizes the risk of exploding conventional warhead ballistic missiles, and nuclear tipped ballistic missiles will not detonate upon a kinetic energy hit.

Originally a United States Army program, THAAD has come under the umbrella of the Missile Defense Agency. The Navy has a similar program, the sea-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System, which now has a land component as well (“Aegis ashore”). THAAD was originally scheduled for deployment in 2012, but initial deployment took place in May 2008. THAAD has been deployed in the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and South Korea.

The THAAD system is being designed, built, and integrated by Lockheed Martin Space Systems acting as prime contractor. Key subcontractors include Raytheon, Boeing, Aerojet Rocketdyne, Honeywell, BAE Systems, Oshkosh Defense, MiltonCAT and the Oliver Capital Consortium.

On 6 March 2017, two THAAD launcher trucks arrived by air transport at Osan Air Base South Korea, for a deployment. Earlier that day, North Korea had launched 4 missiles. A Reuters article stated that with the THAAD defense system, a North Korean missile barrage would still pose a threat to South Korea, while an article in the International Journal of Space Politics & Policy said that South Korean forces already possess Patriot systems for point defense and Aegis destroyers capable of stopping ballistic missiles that may come from the north, in a three-layer antimissile defense for South Korea. On 16 March 2017, a THAAD radar arrived in South Korea. The THAAD system is kept at Osan Air Base until the site where the system is due to be deployed is prepared, with an expected ready date of June 2017. Osan Air Base has blast-hardened command posts with 3 levels of blast doors.

By 25 April 2017, six trailers carrying the THAAD radar, interceptor launchers, communications, and support equipment entered the Seongju site. On 30 April 2017, it was reported that South Korea would bear the cost of the land and facilities for THAAD, while the US will pay for operating it. On 2 May 2017, Moon Sang-gyun, with the South Korean Defense Ministry and Col. Robert Manning III, a spokesman for the U.S. military announced that the THAAD system in Seongju is operational and “has the ability to intercept North Korean missiles and defend South Korea.” It was reported that the system will not reach its full operational potential until later this year when additional elements of the system are onsite. In June 2017 South Korea decided to halt further deployment. The 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade (United States) has integrated THAAD into its layered defense on the Korean Peninsula.

Even in the face of a North Korean ICBM test on 4 July 2017, which newly threatens Alaska, a Kodiak, Alaska-based THAAD interceptor test (FTT-18) against a simulated attack by an Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile had long been planned. FTT-18 was successfully completed by Battery A-2 THAAD (Battery A, 2nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) of the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade (United States) on 11 July 2017. The soldiers used the procedures of an actual combat scenario and were not aware of the IRBM’s launch time.

Also in 2017 another Kodiak launch of a THAAD interceptor is scheduled between 7:30PM and 1:30AM on Saturday 29 July, Sunday 30 July, or Monday 31 July, at alternative times. North Korea is apparently positioning launch equipment in Kusong in preparation for a 27 July holiday. Lee Jong-kul, of South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s Minjoo Party states “The nuclear and missile capabilities of North Korea…have been upgraded to pose serious threats; the international cooperation system to keep the North in check has been nullified..”, citing tensions over the U.S. deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense anti-missile system in South Korea.

Source: Voice of America News.

US to test THAAD missile defence system within days

Reuters

The US is planning to carry out a test of a missile defence system against an intermediate-range ballistic missile amid heightened tensions with North Korea, according to reports.

 The test, although planned months ago, comes after Pyongyang launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on 4 July that has increased concerns over the threat North Korea poses.

It is the first operational test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) to defend against a simulated attack, US officials told Reuters news agency.

The interceptor will be fired from Alaska and will take place “in the coming days”, the agency reported.

THAAD interceptors are positioned in Guam which are meant to help guard against a missile attacks, such as one from North Korea.

The US Missile Defence Agency confirmed it aimed to carry out the test “in early July”.

Chris Johnson, a spokesman for the agency, said the weapon system at the Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska in Kodia would “detect, track and engage a target with a THAAD interceptor”.

It is a ground-based missile defence system that works against short, medium and intermediate-range ballistic missiles at the terminal stage of flight.

Vice Admiral James Syring, a former director of the Missile Defense Agency, said in May the THAAD system has a 100% success rate in its 13 flight tests so far.

Pyongyang was heavily criticised after launching the missile.

Leaders at the G20 summit in Germany have called for a quick UN Security Council resolution to apply new sanctions on North Korea after the launch.

In a joint statement, the US, Japan and South Korea said the resolution aims to demonstrate “that there are serious consequences for its destabilising, provocative, and escalatory actions”.

Original article: sky NEWS.

2 US Air Force B-1 bombers fly near North Korean border in show of force

Two U.S. Air Force B-1 bombers on Saturday flew near the Korean Demilitarized Zone in a show of force, the Air Force said in a statement.

The two B-1 bombers flew 2,000 miles from Anderson Air Force Base in Guam to conduct a precision strike training exercise with South Korean fighter jets. The bombers were also joined by Japanese fighters during their flight.

These missions are called “Jungle Lightening” by the Air Force.

Later, the Air Force called the mission a “demonstration of the ironclad U.S. commitment to our allies.”

The bombers fired releasing inert weapons at the Pilsung Range. The mission took 10 hours, according to the statement.

“North Korea’s actions are a threat to our allies, partners and homeland,” Gen. Terrence O’ Shaughnessy, the Pacific Air Forces commander, said. “Let me be clear, if called upon we are trained, equipped and ready to unleash the full lethal capability of our allied air forces.”

 This is the second ‘show of force’ by the US military since the July 4 North Korea test of an intercontinental ballistic missile, a first for the rogue, communist regime.

On the night after the launch, the US and South Korean military conducted a joint missile test using short range missiles into waters off the peninsula.

A North Korean test of an ICBM is a momentous step forward for Pyongyang as it works to build an arsenal of long-range nuclear-armed missiles that can hit anywhere in the United States. The North isn’t there yet — some analysts suggest it will take several more years to perfect such an arsenal, and many more tests — but a successful launch of an ICBM has long been seen as a red line, after which it would only be a matter of time — if the country isn’t stopped.

President Trump said North Korea’s plan to develop an ICBM capable of hitting the U.S. “won’t happen” and has since made tough talk on the issue a signature.

Amid heightened tensions with North Korea, the U.S. will conduct a flight test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), an element of the nation’s ballistic missile defense system, Fox News has learned. The test, which will be conducted by the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), is scheduled to take place this month.

The THAAD test will be conducted against an intermediate ballistic missile. THAAD is not a weapon used against ICBMs, but only short and medium range missiles.

There is currently a THAAD battery in South Korea but only two of the scheduled six launchers on the battery are operational as the South Korean government performs an “environmental impact” study at the golf course where the battery is deployed.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Original article: FOXNEWS, By Lucas Tomlinson.